Monday, February 14, 2011

WINDY MORNING HIKE ALONG THE LAKE

Just a short word about my dogs.  Click link below:

http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/loucksgl/Word%20About%20My%20Dogs/?action=view&current=051.mp4


The water is rolling against the shoreline with a constant splashing sound.  The wind is getting stronger by the hour this morning.
I over slept and it felt good.   As I lay in bed at 9AM, I looked around the habitat, warehouse room, and thought about how simple my life is.  Chestnut, the beagle mix puppy, slept against my back with her brother, Spruce, laying against my legs at the bottom end of the bed.  Of course Happy was under the covers against my chest.  Old Sigh, the ancient hound, was still asleep, snoring, on her heated bed on the floor.  Shade slept on the floor at the head of the bed and Douglas;  well, he doesn't follow any plans and is about as disorganized as I am.  The golden dog was outside--somewhere.  The amazing thing is that they all slept in with me.  They are usually up making noise at 7AM.  I noticed light coming through the window of the front door.  That provided motivation for me to get moving.  I still had no plan for the day.  Why should I?
I went across the street to the Greenback Drug Store for breakfast.  While eating, I kept my eye on the huge oak tree across the street.  I watched the leaves for movement.  That tree is my wind indicator.  It's leaves were barely moving.  By the time I drank a cup of coffee, the leaves were really being blown by a stiff wind.  Amazing change in so little time!

Let me see; high wind eliminates the canoe.  The enduro motorcycle is in the shop getting a service done on it.  That leaves it out.  The Gheenoe would be the boat of choice for the day.  I had heard that winds would be strong with gusts reaching 60 miles per hour today.  That's a condition I don't want to deal with.  The last option is to use my legs.  I loaded up Douglas and headed for the trail for a few hours.  We would walk along the lake.

The road to my favorite cove is very narrow and there aren't many houses beside it.  The thing is so narrow that barely two vehicles have room to pass.




The surface of this narrow pathway is better than the best road in Pennsylvania.  I sometimes forget how bad the roads are back home.  A road like the one to the right in PA would be patched over several years and full of potholes. 




Anyway;  it is a pleasurable drive to my cove.  I didn't bring the big camera today as the opportunity to photograph animals is limited where we are going.  Too many people tread the lake trail and that fact keeps the critters back in the woods.




We arrived at my favorite lake cove at around 11AM and the wind had created a severe wash board surface to the water.






The Gheenoe would be fine on this water but, I wasn't in the mood to deal with wind even while driving the Gheenoe.  Maybe I'm just lazy today.



Douglas and I took off at a brisk pace.  I didn't get far when I noticed my left leg getting tingly.  Now What?!  I have an achy thing going on with the right leg caused by a sciatic nerve issue which has been aggravated by a thin disk between two vertebrae in my lower spine.  I went to the doctor about it last week.


I'm sure this newest malady is also related to the sciatic nerve problem.  I ignored this new sensation and walked on trying to focus on the surrounding forest.



 The tingling feeling in my leg has passed and we are really stepping out.  This is more like it.  I can't imagine what I would do if I were to suddenly be incapacitated with a health problem at this point in my life.



We've arrived at a sweet little spot to sit and rest.  I need to make some notes in my journal and this little bench is an ideal place to do it.  I come here from across the lake when in the canoe.  It's become some sort of a hang-out when I'm in this area.



Douglas is standing on the trail behind me waiting impatiently for me to start walking. 





He will trot away down the trail but instantly come back and stares at me.  He is becoming bored and is trying to entice me into action.  He remains aloof back there behind the brush.  "Douglas;  come here boy."




"Good boy."
I notice the wind has increased in strength.  I doubt I'll get on the water today.  This sunny, warmer day is just a tease.  It's a practical joke pulled on me by mother nature.  There will be plenty more sunny days.



There are many beautiful views along this trail.  This particular spot is one of my favorites
I have a cousin up in Pennsylvania who continually asks me to return home and live with her in her house.  She is 84 years old and lives alone.  I thought about doing that last year.
Douglas says, "are you coming or what?"





Moving back to Pennsylvania just wouldn't work for me.  I can imagine myself becoming melancholy about the wilderness places here in Tennessee.  Pennsylvania is a busy place and the population has eaten up most of the wild lands.   With the wild lands went the wild critters and things of nature.



Here, where I live, I can be on the water in five minutes if I choose to.  Ten minutes in another direction are forests where Douglas and Shade can act like dogs should.  They need no leashes and there isn't anyone to force me to put them on a leash.




In Pennsylvania I would have to drive a minimum of forty minutes to reach a large enough body of water to feel like I was alone.  There is a small reservoir not far from my home place but, it is a tiny body of water compared to what I'm used to.  There are no views on any Western Pennsylvania waters such as you see here in my blog.  The only two close lakes within reasonable driving distance are man made and all the property is privately owned by folks who built homes along every inch of both of them.

This trail has two boat landings on it.  To the left is one of them.  Good luck landing a boat of any size there.  That's a super spot to beach a canoe or the Gheenoe.  The water on Tellico Lake has been drawn down about four feet by the look of it.



Anyway;  I simply can not imagine willingly giving up this wonderful chance to be in the wilderness settings I love for the sake of living in a town back up North where the wilderness has long been forsaken in the name of the almighty dollar.



I talk to a lot of folks here in Tennessee and I'm not too sure they know and understand what they have.  There is a lot of wild territory within the boundaries of this state and it is filled with a plethora of wildlife.  There is not a time that I don't see wildlife when I'm out in the forests here in Tennessee.  There exists an amazing variety of wildlife on the lakes.  There are more species of birds than I can keep count  found here on these great water impoundments.

We have black bear, wild turkey, wild boars, elk, white tailed deer, bob cats, beaver, otter, and a host of other mammalian critters.  Possums and rabbits are not to be left out of the equation.  Tennessee serves host to many birds that stop off on their journeys to far away places.  Some of those birds are the sandhill and whooping cranes, the common loon, many varieties of humming birds and even the common robin redbreast.  I have named but a few.

Look at that gorgeous scene to the left.  That can not be had in Pennsylvania.
You want rabbits.  I can walk to almost any bushy shrub down at the ruins area that I visit and kick it.  The chances are great that a large cotton tail will exit stage left at a full run.  Want to see bob white's?  Come with me to the grass lands at the ruins.  Douglas and Shade will push out flocks of them.
Ring neck pheasants used to be "THE" bird to hunt in that state when I was growing up.  My mom and dad would be eating breakfast in the kitchen when mom would exclaim, "look in the yard at the ring necks."  There were four male ring necks and five hens slowly walking along together beneath an enormous maple tree out by the barn.


I guess what I'm trying to say is Tennessee has amazing wildlife resources within her boundaries and I would hope Tennesseans recognize the fact that their land is being sold at a very fast rate.  It seems that Realtors are constantly buying up large parcels of forest and creating developments.   I've only lived down here for seven years and I am amazed at the changes to the landscape I've seen in that short time.  It is too much too fast.  I guess that's progress.  But, where do the animals go?  Are they and the wilderness experience still important?   Those pheasants I spoke about earlier are gone now.  They do not reproduce in the wild.  Why?  Because they are hunted and all are killed each year.  The Pennsylvania Game Commission rears new birds annually and turns them out into the fields and forests so hunters can shoot them.  If the Commission were to stop the practice of raising and stocking pheasants;  there would not be one seen in the state.

  So, you wonder why they don't just stop hunting pheasants for a couple years.  If the Commission did that the hunter faction in PA would scream loud enough to wake the dead.  Well, fact is that without pheasants to hunt, the game bag would contain a sparse variety of game.   The only other small game animals on the roster are rabbits, grouse, squirrel and turkeys.  That's about it.  Deer season provides a diversion for the hunters and, there is the annual bear hunt. The game list for Tennessee is extensive.  The TWRA even tried to add additional game critters to the already full list by proposing a sandhill crane hunt.  That, fortunately, got put on the back burner of the hunting stove.  I guess what I'm saying is Tennessee is a state that is unbelievably rich in wildlife and habitat.  We are so very lucky to be able to enjoy the wilderness experience here.  Other states, at one time, also were blessed with the same richness.  They squandered the habitat and sold the animals out to the highest bidder for property.  I hope the Southern folks are more diligent with their heritage than their Northern brothers were.

There he is again; waiting on me.  "Come on dad and get up here!"






He is staying close.  I like being with just him.  What a fine companion!






If there's water about;  he'll be in it.
We've been on this trail for almost two miles and we better take the loop that leads back to the truck.
The loop back leads up the mountain and will traverse across the top.  There are meadows up here with tall grass.  This is a delightful change.  I've not crossed this portion of trail previous to this day.
The problem I had with my leg is gone.  I hope it stays wherever it went to.  I'm feeling great and the pace I'm setting is fast.
This portion of trail is very scenic.  I bet there would be many wildflowers here in the Spring.  I'll come back in March but, I'll paddle across the cove in the canoe and cut the arrival time in half.
So;  move back to Pennsylvania?  Ha;  not anytime soon!  "Get in the truck Douglas."
 The day was thoroughly enjoyed by both Douglas and myself.   I invite you to keep an eye on this blog as I have some serious adventure plans in store for Summer.  See you next time and do something nice for a dog.